Dana Walrath

Commentator

Dana Walrath, a writer, artist and anthropologist, likes to cross borders and disciplines with her work. After years of using stories and art to teach medical students at University of Vermont’s College of Medicine, she spent 2012-2013 as a Fulbright Scholar in Armenia where she completed Like Water on Stone, her award winning verse novel about the Armenian genocide of 1915.  Her graphic memoir, Aliceheimer’s (Penn State Press 2016) about life with her mother, Alice, before and during dementia, has been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, on NPR and more.  Her first picture book I Am a Bird debuts in May 2018. She has spoken extensively about the role of comics in healing throughout North America and Eurasia including two TEDx talks. She has shown her artwork in a variety of venues throughout North America and Eurasia including most recently exhibits in Tokyo and Kobe, Japan. Passionate about the power of art for social change, her most recent art installation “View from the High Ground” uses interactive artists books to engage with dehumanization in nine of the genocides of the past five hundred years. Her anthropological work on childbirth, genocide, and the end of life has appeared in edited volumes and anthropological journals and she is a co-author of one of the leading college textbook series in anthropology. Her recent essays and commentary have appeared in Slate, SomatosphereForeign Policy and on Vermont Public Radio’s “All Things Considered”. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a BA in visual arts and biology from Barnard College.  You can visit her at danawalrath.com

On his way to a National Ballet performance of Sleeping Beauty, a young boy heard its plotline for the very first time: A man approaches a sleeping woman he has never before met and kisses her. Never schooled on Disney, and allowed to defy gender stereotypes to follow his love for ballet, this boy asked his mother, “Isn't that sexual harassment?”

My grandparents arrived in America, refugees of a genocide perpetrated by an Islamic government against its Christian citizens.